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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Tony Blair, The Beatles - how they are related

So, it turns out that Tony Blair's dodgy tennis partner, Middle East envoy and loans-for-peerages wheeler & dealer, Lord Levy, used to be exactly what he looks like: Alvin Stardust's manager. (For non-Brit readers, Alvin Stardust was/is a retro rocker from that awful rock'n'roll revival period that gave us acts like Showaddywaddy. A sort of less successful Gary Glitter without the paedophilia.)

Alvin Stardust had been, in a previous incarnation, Shane Fenton of Shane Fenton & The Fentones. (For non-Brit readers, a late-coming Merseybeat group who enjoyed a couple of minor hits.)

Between the two incarnations, in the early 1970s, a friend and I went to interview him. He was living in a council house in outer Liverpool, setting the poetry of the bloke next door to music and trying to get a deal for this sensitive-singer-songwriter album he'd made. He was married to a pleasant woman called Iris. She was the sister of Rory Storme of that important Merseybeat group Rory Storme & The Hurricanes. Their drummer had been Ringo Starkey (aka Starr), who'd quit to join The Beatles.

So: Beatles - Ringo - Rory - Iris - Alvin - Lord Levy - Blair.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, Iris (Caldwell, I think?) is mentioned in the Beatles Anthology book. She was George Harrison's first girlfriend and there is a photo of the two of them together.

10:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Apologies for asking you this question in the comments section but I can't find an email for you.

Will you be repeating the talk you're giving at the LRB bookshop tomorrow (July 18) at any point, in London? I really wanted to go but it's sold out.


Sir W

3:43 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Ah - well remembered. I didn't know that. She was discreet enough not to mention George at the interview with Shane.

I forgot to say that his real name was neither Shane nor Alvin but Bernard Jewry.

Anyway, thanks Andy.

3:45 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Anonymous Sir W
Thanks for asking. Yes, I'm hoping to do a bigger, better talk at another London venue in October but nothing is fixed yet. We've been asking the ICA, for example, but in one place or another it'll happen.


3:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Michael,
Another apology for this method of contact - similar e-mail problem.
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Song and Dance Man 3 - having read many Dylan books and found myself spitting and snarling at them, it has been a genuine pleasure to read one which said just about everything I felt was about right. The bugger of it though, is that Love & Theft came out after it. Having concurred pretty much with your thoughts on the slightly over-lauded 'Time Out Of Mind', I wondered what you thought of the much under-lauded 'Love & Theft', which I believe is the best thing Dylan's produced since Street Legal. I don't want to press on your time, but it would satisfy my curiosity to know what your general impression of the album was.
Yours sincerely,
A Complete Dylan Anorak.

9:03 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Thanks for your comments - but to learn how I feel about "Love and Theft" (beyond simply VERY POSITIVE), I'm afraid you'll have to look at the entry on it in The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (and/or come to one of my talks...)

Best wishes~

11:44 pm  

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